Fake News, Failed States, and 'America First'

One would have thought that a 90-day suspension of immigration from seven countries with minimal economic ties to the United States would be minor news. It has to be the best thing an American president has done since Ronald Reagan told Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall, because all the people I dislike have gone bat-guano crazy.

The mainstream press is blaming Trump for everything including a down day on the stock market. This is how Bloomberg News began its lead stock market story today: "U.S. stocks fell the most since the presidential election, while Treasuries advanced with gold as Donald Trump’s order on immigration raised concern that he may follow through with isolationist policies touted on the campaign trail, overshadowing a pro-growth agenda." Now, that is perhaps the silliest piece of financial commentary that I have read in half a century of market-watching. What do immigrants from Syria and and Somalia have to do with the U.S. stock market? If the idea weren't idiotic on the face of it, one might point out that the Mexican peso--the shaky currency of the one country subject to protectionist threats from Washington during the past week--rose today while the U.S. stock market fell. In fact, the Mexico peso has risen almost 4% during the past week. If the market is worried about Trump's supposed isolationism, why is the country most affected doing better?

Then we have Starbucks, Lyft, and the whole Silicon Valley circus denouncing Trump for cutting off their labor supply--as if they employed Somalis or Yemenis.

It's just fake news, folks. Fake news has metastasized from the gossip columns (vicious personal attacks against Trump family members) to the political columns (scurrilous slanders against Trump team members like Gen. Mike Flynn and Steve Bannon) to the financial page. I'm waiting for the mainstream media to blend fake news into the weather report ("Tornadoes struck the Midwest today in response to President Trump's failure to address global warming," or something like that).

The biggest piece of fake news is that Trump is isolationist. It's true that the catchphrase "America First" originated with isolationists. In the 1930s, Charles Lindbergh's "America First" movement opposed intervention against the Nazis. De facto it was an instrument of German foreign policy.

By sharp contrast, President Trump has promised to "eradicate" the contemporary equivalent of Nazism, namely radical Islam terrorism.  That means to eradicate it anywhere in the world. It's the polar opposite of Lindbergh's isolationism: It means that America is going use all of its power all over the world to stamp out the present-day version of Nazism. Radical Islam is a lineal descendant of Nazism. See Paul Berman's book The Flight of the Intellectuals for documentation of the common history of Nazism and modern Islamism.